Helen King Smith, a longtime resident of Valdosta, died on February 14; she was 97.
Helen Irene King was born in 1920, in Hesston, Kansas, the fourth of eight children of Ezra King, a Mennonite bridge builder, and Mary Longenecker King, a homemaker. When in elementary school, she walked one mile each way with her brothers and sisters to the one-room District 20 school, even in winter. This daily regimen, she believed, contributed to her good health, extraordinary stamina, and long life.
She was a 1943 graduate of Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, where she majored in home economics. During World War II she taught high school in Cedar Point, Kansas. In 1948 she married Arthur R. Smith Jr., of Ashburn, Georgia, whom she had met at Asbury, and settled in Valdosta. From 1952 to 1957, she and her husband lived in Jabalpur, India, where Art served a term as a lay missionary as an architect for the Methodist Church. Their two younger children were born in India, and she taught her two older children first grade and kindergarten while there.
In 1957, they returned to Valdosta, where Art practiced architecture for 50 years and Helen put her college degree to good use, adeptly and efficiently managing the household. She had beautiful taste and decorated her Prairie Style home, designed by her husband, with harmonious furnishings. She was an excellent seamstress and needleworker and a renowned cook. Their home in Cherry Creek Hills was the site of many gatherings and reunions; for 25 years, she and Art hosted multiday Thanksgiving celebrations there.
Helen was a longtime member of First United Methodist Church, where she was actively involved with the Christian Homebuilders Class and the United Methodist Women. She loved all the ministers assigned to First United Methodist and counted many as dear friends.
She is survived by her four children and one grandchild: Gretchen Smith Mui (Lincoln), of Silver Spring, Md.; King Smith and Peter Smith, both of Valdosta; Mary Anna Smith, of New York City; and Andrew Smith-Mui, of Silver Spring, Md. She is also survived by a brother, Clifford King of Hesston, Kans.; a sister, Mary Kathryn Turkington of Wilmore, Ky.; a sister-in-law, Sammye Smith Vore, of Stanton, Calif.; and multitudinous nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank her caregivers in her latter years, Joan Hall and Mildred McGee.
A memorial service will be held on Monday February 19 at 4:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. Visitation be held on Sunday from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at Carson McLane Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Salvation Army. Condolences to the family may be conveyed online at www.mclanecares.com. Carson McLane.
Published on February 16, 2018